The effectiveness of advertisement lies in how well the advertising mes­sage is developed. Advertising copy may be defined as all the written or spoken matter including figures etc. which are made to convey desired message of advertiser to target customers. It includes headings, sub-headings, pictures, slo­gans and body etc.

In the words of Schew and Smith, “Advertising copy includes all the written or spoken elements of the message in advertisement to target cus­tomers.” Message is the heart of advertising campaign. Therefore, the message that has to be conveyed in an advertisement copy should be emotional, descrip­tive, narrative and factual. It is the collective effort of copywriters, artists and layout men.

Essentials of a Good Advertising Copy:

It is very difficult to state as to what constitutes a good advertising copy. Nevertheless, a good advertising copy is that which succeeds in conveying to the target audience the message of advertiser.

The main characteristics of a good advertisement copy are:

i. Attention Value – An advertising copy must attract the attention of the prospective customers, otherwise all the efforts and expenses on advertisement will go waste. For holding attention use of illustrations, colours, novelties and display are useful.

ii. Interest Value – Only gaining attention of the prospects will not induce them to buy the product. Therefore, an advertising copy must be such that it arouses interest value in the customer.

iii. Suggestive Value – The third essential of a good advertising copy is its suggestive value. For this purpose the advertising copy must include the merits of the product. For example, “Problem Chal hat” used in Dabur Red toothpaste. For this purpose slogans pictures, phrases and suggestions can be used.

iv. Reception Value – All three values stated above i.e. attention, interest and suggestive cannot give desired result of advertisement if people forget it. Therefore, the advertising copy layout should be such that it makes permanent impression in the mind of the public.

v. Sentimental Value – Sales of certain product heavily depend upon the sentiments of the buyers. It is specially true in case of food products. People patronise the place where they find good and clean food with satisfactory service. For example – McDonald.

vi. Educative and Creative Value – Another important essential of a good advertising copy is that it must be educative and creative. Educative and creative value of an advertising copy is particularly important in case of products which are meant for replacing existing products. For example – DVD players to replace CD players. Such copy must be designed in such a way to provide information regarding extra benefits which the customer gets by using these products.

vii. Other Characteristics – Besides above stated characteristics a good advertising copy should –

a. Contain language and words which the target audience can easily understand.

b. Be brief and to the point.

c. Be clean, unambiguous and self-explanatory.

Types of Advertising Copy:

Depending on various objectives for which advertising copy are prepared, advertising copy can be of following types:

i. Scientific Copy:

Scientific copy is of technical nature and it provides details regarding the producer and the product. This type of copy is generally used by engineering and drug & pharmaceutical firms to inform the ordinary people in general and professional persons in particular about the merits and value of the product so that they may be stimulated to buy it.

ii. Descriptive Copy:

This copy is non-technical in nature and is prepared in such a manner that a layman can understand it. It gives detailed information about the product in very simple language. This type of advertisement copy is generally used for the products which are purchased as a matter of routine.

iii. Topical Copy:

Topical copy is that advertisement copy which is intended to appeal the target prospects by establishing a connection between the product and a particular recent happening. This type of copy commands good deal of interest because of that sensational event which are fresh in the minds of the prospects. For example – advertising copy of Adidas during sports.

iv. Narrative Copy:

Under this type of copy, appeals are made to the prospects with the help of fictitious stories which narrates the benefits of purchasing the product. Generally the story covered under this copy is humorous and carries the message in appealing manner which can be remembered by the public easily.

v. Personality Copy:

This type of advertisement copy attempts to encash the opinion of an important personality about the product. Personality advertisement copies are quite popular now a day on television. For instance – Salman Khan in Revital.

vi. Questioning Copy:

Questioning copy includes a number of questions expected to be answered by the prospects. The answer of these questions lies in the use of the product so advertised. For example, advertisement of Godrej Locks.

vii. Suggestive Copy:

Suggestive copies are those advertisement copies which try to suggest the audience directly or indirectly for pursuing them to purchase a particular product. It is particularly useful in those products where the prospects are confused about the quality of different brands. For example, Advertisement done through Medifact about Complan.

viii. Reason Why Copy:

In this type of advertising copy advertised message explains why it is necessary to have the product. It gives definite positive points in favour of a particular product. For example, advertisement copy used in insurance sector like LIC.

ix. Fear Copy:

Those advertising copy which appeal to the sense of fear of prospects come under this category. These copies arouse deep interest in prospect for protecting their valuables. For example, Advertisement of locks, medical and insurance sector etc.

Structure of Advertising Copy:

Attainment of advertising objectives largely depends on the way the advertisement copy is designed. The advertising copy should be designed in such a way that it is in position to attract the attention of the prospective buyers.

The following are the basic elements of the advertising copy:

i. Headline:

The most important element of the advertising copy is its headline. If headline fails to attract the prospects, remaining part of the advertisement are wasted. Thus, the main purpose of the headline of every advertising copy is to attract attention and create curiosity in the prospects. For e.g. – Desh Ki Dhadkan (Hero Honda).

ii. Sub-Heading:

After the headline the next is sub-headline. If the headline has rightly suggested the value of product, the job of sub-headline becomes quite easier. Sub-headline helps the reader to have more knowledge about the product. For e.g. – sub-headline used in Horlicks ad – Dudh Mein Horlicks Milao, Dudh Ki Shakti Badhao.

iii. Slogans:

A slogan is the group of words regularly used by the advertiser to impress prospects about the product and producer. It is one of the most popular methods to attaining and holding attention of the customers. For e.g. – McDonald – I’m loving it.

iv. Text or Body:

After headline, sub-headline and slogan comes the text of advertising copy. In the text, both the rational and emotional reasons are put forward to persuade customers to buy the particular brand. Facts and figures about the product, guarantee of satisfactory performance, testimonials, etc. are given in the text of the advertisement copy depending upon the nature, competition, market, etc.

v. Closing Idea:

Last but not the least, advertising copy should close the idea with enough information, direction and motivation for the customer to act. Various types of closing idea are “buy now”, “visit the nearest store today”, etc.

Copy Testing:

Copy testing is an important part of advertising management. It is the tool to evaluate the effectiveness of the advertisement before it appears in final form, to determine whether and to what extent it will accomplish its objective. In simple words, copy testing is a method to control the effectiveness of final advertising.

Types of Copy Testing:

Different techniques have been developed to test the various aspects of an advertising copy before and after the launch of advertisement.

Accordingly, copy testing can be:

(1) Pre-Testing Method:

Pre-testing as the name suggest refers to testing the advertising copy prior to its running. This test is run to find out the plus and minus points of an advertisement campaign.

The following are the methods generally used in pre-testing of an advertising copy:

i. Checklist Method:

Checklist method tests the various aspects of advertisement copy. This method ensures that no important feature is omitted. It is simple and speedy process of measuring the effectiveness of advertising copy involving limited cost. However it suffers from personal biasness. Moreover it is not suitable for all instances.

ii. Consumer Jury Method:

Under this method, the advertisement copy is shown to a group of consumer or jury (who are supposed to be consumer) and their opinion is asked. They generally rank the advertisement copy then or message. This method is very useful as it involves a direct contact with the consumers.

iii. Coupon Response Method:

Under this method, advertiser offers to send something complementary to the reader on receipt of letter from him. The offer can be of a free sample of product or a premium offer.

iv. Inquiry Test Method:

Under inquiry test, effectiveness of advertising copy is made by the means of inquiry made for the product. In it two or more ads are run on limited scale. The ad which gets the maximum inquiry is said to be effective.

(2) Post-Testing Method:

These tests are those tests which are conducted after the launch of advertisement campaign. These tests are conducted to know the effectiveness of the copy after its publication. Post-testing method provides information about whether the brand name or selling theme of a given advertising copy or advertising campaign penetrates in the minds of consumers and if so to what extent.

Under post testing following methods are used:

i. Recall Test:

Under this method, the reader, for instance, is shown a magazine cover and is asked whether he has read the issue. If the answer is yes, he is asked to describe anything which he remembers after seeing that issue. He is then given a deck of cards, on which brand name appears and is asked to indicate the advertisement.

ii. Recognition Test:

Under this method, the readers are merely asked whether they have seen or heard about the advertisement copy. If answer is yes it is presumed that the advertisement copy is the effective one. This test is conducted by personal interviews with the readers of the magazines and newspapers.

iii. Sales Test:

Under this method an association is made between the effectiveness of advertisement and sales. If the sale after the advertisement increases, the advertisement is said to be effective one. This method also facilitates comparison between two ads or two media of advertisement.

iv. Split-Run Test:

Under this method the advertisement copy is prepared in two ways and run in one medium. Then the coupon response gives an evaluation of the advertisement copy. The advertisement receiving more response is said to be more effective.

v. Inquiry Test:

Under this method, effectiveness of the advertisement copy is made on the basis of inquiry made by the customers regarding the product. To encourage inquiries, the advertiser offers to send something complementary to the reader if he replies.